Marketing doesnt have to cost a fortune. Here are some thoughts on how to market your business for free through the networking groups on your doorstep.
Network with attitude – people buy people. Then they buy their products and services. Confident networking will help you make these connections. Where to begin? Your local chamber of commerce is a great place to start. Each month they will host a breakfast, lunch or evening meeting. Sign up and go along.
Preparation – establish which events are most appropriate for you. Go through the delegate lists in advance and identify people or companies that you would like to have a conversation with.
What do I say? People love to talk about themselves so FORD
O Occupation/ career
R Recreation what do people enjoy doing in their spare time
D Dreams / Goals
Get them talking about how great their kids are and they will think you are the most interesting person in the world even though you might not have told them anything about yourself. Remember be interested, not interesting.
Set yourself targets and challenges – for example, youre going to tell five chosen people about a particular aspect of your business or youre going to get five business cards and pave the way for a follow up call to at least one of them.
When do I move in for the kill? Networking is not a blood sport. Before you stab them in the heart with your sharpened business card, think of how you can win their trust. Do they have a particular need; is there any free advice you
can offer? Do as much as you can to start a business friendship rather than a cold and calculated hard sell.
The Referral Circle – broker relationships with companies who can refer business to you.
Someone save me! Youve engaged somebody in conversation who will never become a customer. You dont want to be rude, so what can you do? Have a couple of excuses ready. These might include:
Im keen to ask
the speaker a question, would you excuse me for a minute?
Theres a person I
must quickly say hello to, but youre welcome to join us.
What do I do afterwards? Like all relationships, you have to invest time to make it work. Phone call follow-ups, meetings, further offers of assistance, corporate hospitality invitations.
Now go get networking!